Misbah Ul-Haq

Three reasons to support Pakistan in Sydney

Imagine never playing a home game. Touring the globe playing cricket would be a thrill for most of us but what about seven years on the road?

Pakistan has not played at home since 2009 and Australia hasn’t played there since 1998.

They look exhausted. Australia has already won the series and there seems little to play for? Aussie fans are predicting an easy win.

Three reasons to shout for Pakistan

  • Sun sets on two greats. Misbah and Younus. 42 and 39 years old. Probably their last tour to Australia and our last chance to see a memorable innings. Who remembers quality players like Javed Miandad and big Inzamam? Younus is just as good. He averages 52 from 114 Tests and has scored 33 tons. He is world class.
  • Where’s your empathy? Pakistan is plagued by conflict and bloodshed. The survival of elite cricket there is a great story. A little success might bring joy to some of the millions of peaceful families trying to survive the chaos brought by a few.
  • Flying your family from one country to another, rarely visiting home and never playing there. Earning less than one-sixth of what many Australian players earn. Look that might sound better than shoveling dirt on a hot day, but in context, that’s a tough gig. They’ve been on the road constantly since June 2016.

Get behind Pakistan.

Anyway, the Aussies need a good fight before their tour to India in March and five days cricket in Sydney is better than three, right?

Absolutely battered: The cricket stats you need to read

Australia have been completely battered by Pakistan. Their weak batting was exposed, restricted to 900 runs for the loss of 40 wickets, spluttering past 300 just once. Australia’s uncreative bowlers were forced to deliver 447 overs, conceding 1600 runs and taking just 20 wickets. Pakistan mercifully declared three of their four innings.

This is Pakistan’s first series win against Australia in twenty years and the 356 run winning margin in the second Test is their biggest ever Test match win, against any opponent.

From this moment until the first ball of their next Test against India in Brisbane, Australia will be dissected by cricket media. Their performance in the UAE was an outright disgrace.

In over 100 years of Test cricket Australia averages just above 30 runs per wicket. They’ve surrendered more than 80 runs per wicket here. Pakistan’s bowlers have played 11 Tests together. They hounded Australia’s batsman and their spinners, Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar, looked a thousand times more likely than Nathan Lyon on spin-friendly wickets. Lyon’s future in the Test team must be in doubt after a calamitous showing.

Only Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Johnson (1st Test) and Mitchell Marsh showed any fight with the bat. Marsh’s 47 in the second innings of the second Test was worth more than David Warner’s 58 because Marsh absorbed 130 balls. Warner only faced 75. That is not good enough when you’ve been set an impossible 603 and surviving 140 overs is the only way to save the Test.

It’s easy to attack when momentum is on your side. The true standard of a Test batsman is measured by their ability to defy momentum when it’s with the opposition. Warner is a potential future great, but he’s yet to prove he can lead a resistance against the odds, defend his team’s dignity and save a Test.

Although I’d be tempted to leave him there for now, Chris Rogers’ position will be questioned ahead of the India series. Whoever is responsible for picking Glenn Maxwell at 3 in the Australian Test side should be forced to look for a new job. A colossal failure, the T20 specialist known as the “big show” got out cheaply playing two T20 shots. Australia have used eight players at three since 2011.

In contrast Pakistan’s batsmen were phenomenal. So good that not only did we see the first batsmen in 90 years to score a hundred in each innings of a Test against Australia, it happened again in the second Test, twice! Azhar Ali has a bright future and Younus Khan’s double century in the 2nd Test was sheer class. He is an all time great. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq nailed Australia’s bowlers to the desert floor yesterday by scoring the fastest ever Test 50. He then equalled Viv Richards’ record for the fastest ever hundred in Test Match history, just 56 balls.

That’s quicker than Adam Gilchrist’s destruction of Andy Flintoff and co at the WACA in 2006, a moment that channel nine hasn’t hesitated to replay at least two thousand times. Pakistan have every right to brag after this one. They’ll be wishing this was a five Test series but Australia return home tomorrow for yet another mickey-mouse T20 and ODI series that few will take interest in.

The Lehmann led revival has come to a grinding halt.